The Benefits and Challenges of Urbanization

Written by a. renee hutcherson
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The Benefits and Challenges of Urbanization
Urbanised areas such as cities provide individuals with more job opportunities. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Urbanisation is inevitable due to technological advances and an increasing population. Industrialisation allows people to make a living in methods other than farming; this has led to many people abandoning the rural lifestyle. Urbanisation is a process that is occurring in nearly every part of the world inhabited by humans. It has led to a greater quality of life for many, but it also has its challenges.

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Definition

Urbanisation is the process of increasing population growth in cities and suburbs; it also includes the increase of industrialisation. There is more involvement in government, industry and trade in urban areas. The word urbanisation derives from "urb," which is the Latin word for city. The United States and Europe had the majority of urbanisation occur during the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century. There is no universal standard of how urbanised areas are classified. In America, an urbanised area has a population of at least 50,000.

Causes

Living in a rural area provides less job opportunities. Farming is one of the major forms of income in rural areas. The unpredictable nature of environmental factors, such as rain and drought, leads to a fluctuating income. The standard of living is difficult to improve; therefore, families opt to move to urban areas. There is a greater variety of jobs in cities. Lack of space in rural areas due to a growing population also leads to urbanisation.

Benefits

The convenience of goods and services is one of the benefits of urbanisation. There is access to more educational and medical services, which allows increased literacy and better health. There is also less use of personal vehicles and more availability of public transportation. There is more social integration in urbanised areas. People of different religions, ethnic backgrounds, social classes and races reside in the same area. This leads to more understanding and acceptance of differences. Another benefit of urbanisation is the possibility of greater earning potential because of the availability of more jobs.

Challenges

The rapidity of growth in urbanised areas is a challenge. Although there are more opportunities, the constantly increasing population leads to more competition. This leads to large amounts of people that are out of work and extremely poor. Pollution is an issue that plagues many urbanised areas. Factories and vehicles emit fumes into the air, which may lead to respiratory issues. The development of more area to build houses and businesses negatively affects the environment. The destruction of habitats displaces many animals. It may also be difficult to finance the increase of an urbanised area due to its rapid growth.

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